We all know the legend of the Great Pumpkin who rises at midnight on Halloween, right?.  So what do the rest of the pumpkins left in the pumpkin patch do?

What if I told you the pumpkins magically come to life, and a great celebration takes place?  There is much singing, dancing and frolicking for the pumpkins who did not get selected for the festivities of All Hallows Eve.

I was fortunate enough to witness this fantastical event for myself.  Hiding on the edge of the field, I waited for the witching hour to arrive.  As the pumpkins rose to their newly acquired feet, they began to sing and make music, and I couldn’t help but let out a tiny chuckle.

To my surprise, Peter, Paul and Merry were close by enough to hear me.  Instead of running in fear, Peter gave me a saucy wink, and I knew all was well.  They told me of how excited they were to be alive, and it was decided that they would come home with me.

I am so delighted to give them a new home where they play their music and sing their songs of the fields and full moons.

Everything was made by me including the clothing and instruments.  The dolls heads, hands, and feet are sculpted from paper clay then hand painted and sealed. Their stems are a combination of pieces of driftwood and sculpting integrating them to the head. The body is polyester batting on a wire armature.  Clothing is made using a combination of new and vintage fabrics.  The instruments are made of wood, paper, and various embellishments.

 

They will be listed soon on my etsy shop.

 

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When the call for art at the Salem Art Association was titled “Untold Stories,”  I knew it was time to put together an idea I have had rolling around in the back of my brain for some time.  There was so much about my maternal grandmother, and all my grandparents for that matter, that I did not know.  They were immigrants from Canada, French Canadians.  They spoke very little English, so there was a language barrier that I was not old enough to know how to surpass.  It was in doing my ancestral research that I learned more about them and the lives they led.

My grandmother arrived in the United States with her parents and siblings around 1910 or 1911 (depending on which source document you look at) from Stanbridge, Quebec.  They settled in Winooski, Vermont, where she and her sisters gained employment at the local mill.  The young ladies that worked in the mills back then were called mill girls.  I think my grandmother and her sisters were fortunate in that  they had a home to go to at night and a family to look out for them.  Many of the young women migrating from Canada and the rural countryside who came to the larger cities for employment were alone, and lived in dormitory type housing provided by the mills.

She met her future husband probably at a church function.  I have possession of several post cards that were written back and forth between them, and I included copies I created in the shrine to my ‘mill girl,’ the untold story of my grandmother, Marie Anna Bilodeau Ferland.

 

Front and back of shrine.  The shrine has a faux distressed, crackle finish on the outside embellished with distressed tags.  On the back is one of the reproduction of a turn of the century Valentine postcards.  Cotton and Wool, commodities of the mills, is stamped across the top.

I have covered the inside of the shrine with a raised design paper colored with inks and distressed, giving the paper an old wallpaper feel.  embellishments include old buttons and thread spools, tags and her genuine reading glasses.  More reproductions of her Valentines fill her most sacred space.

The photo in the background was taken by Lewis Hine who photographed many mill workers from across the United States, and documented their working conditions and life.  It is not actually of my grandmother, although it could have been. This photo is a French Canadian young lady named Adrienne Pagnette working in a mill in Winchendon MA in 1911.  Many of Lewis Hines’ work can be viewed at the J. Paul Getty Museum website here.  Unfortunately, many of his subjects are not named.

Inside, behind Marie Anna’s photo, is a shrine inside a shrine.  A faded rosebud lies beneath the cross and a ‘brooch’ mimicking the one she wears in the photo lies in the deepest recesses.

I was fortunate enough to visit the “Fresh Goods” exhibit at the Concord Museum last week.  I love finding examples of historical garments I can base my doll’s costumes on.  I was impressed with the selection of gowns and shoes in such good condition on display.

I love examining the fine hand stitching of these dresses!  This was a Parisian dinner dress from 1883.

The styles are so elegant.  An afternoon dress from 1848.

And simple cotton, but still amazing the work involved.  An everyday dress probably made from cotton produced at on of the New England mills.

And the shoes!  The ones in front were wedding shoes worn in 1728!

Dresses didn’t have pockets so women used separate pockets tied to their waste.  It served as a purse, but under the skirts. Much more secure that way.

There was also an example of men’s clothing from the 18th Century.

This dress reminded me of Mary Todd Lincoln.  It was from the same time period, a silk afternoon dress from 1855.

I thought the blue accessories were quite lovely

There are also permanent exhibits at the museum which were quite interesting.  Artifacts from times gone by like the tea chest

And a clock made by William Monroe

Concord was inhabited and visited by many literary people of the time, but my favorite is Louisa May Alcott.  Her home will be the destination for my next visit.

If you enjoyed seeing these wonderful garments, let me know!

Thanks for reading.

Find me on Facebook at Pewter and Periwinkles- Lisa Folger Artist Page.

Little Farmer Mouse tends to his herd of dragonflies all day long.  He carefully gathers the milk, bottling it to deliver to his friends.  Dragonfly Milk is a rare drink and only imbibed for special occasions.

 

This little friend is going to his new home in the country so he can continue his work where the dragonflies fly free and create the most exceptional milk!

I enjoyed creating this little character whose little overalls reminded me of the ones my grandfather wore to do his chores, and hence the name, Narcisse.  I usually let the receiver name their little friends, but in this case, I couldn’t resist.

Small stitches and lots of love created his clothing.

There were fitting to be done.

Bottling process was to be had.

After all, he was ready to go to market.

Hope you enjoyed meeting him.

 

Narcisse is a anthropomorphic art doll whose head, hands and boots were sculpted with #CreativePaperClay and his head and hands were hand flocked with faux fur.  He stands about 8″ tall and has a soft body on a wire armature which makes him semi-poseable.  His clothing was hand sewed by me.  His basket is created by me from chipboard and the milk bottles were purchased from D. Lawless Hardware (they have more than just knobs), and hand painted by me.

 

My mind raced when I spied this old Plaster of Paris casting.

Coquillage art, Ocean Pollution

She spoke to me and said, “Take me home.  Make me into something worthy.”

“Yes,” I said.  “You will be transformed.”

And so she sat patiently waiting while I finished a dozen other things going on.

And then I said, “Sweet girl, it is time.  You will bare an important message.  You will tell everyone about the war, the war on the plastic pollution swirling in the seas.  Go and tell all that you see.”

So she was born, and grew, and will fight.

The Warrior is created from a plaster casting encrusted with shells, beach glass and other beach finds.  Her necklace is created with debris found on the beaches of the Massachusetts North Shore.

Protect our Oceans.

We’ve been making progress with my new studio space, but in the mean time, I have not had a chance to do a lot of art.  Before we started that project I was able to try an attempt at boiled book making.

My first attempt was not a complete fail.  What is a boiled book, you ask?

A boiled book is using flowers and leaves to create natural dyes and imprints on watercolor paper.  You can also use this technique for dying organic materials (cotton, silk, etc.) with natural materials found around your yard.

It was my first try so I threw everything in that pot of water!  The rusty iron and vinegar, the copper pipe, some avocado peels which are supposed to create a soft pink, and sumac flowers to create soft reds without needing a mordant.  A mordant is a substance that allows the dyes to be absorbed by the fabric.  Some plant dyes need it and some don’t.  I also used some ferns, bleeding heart foliage, and a handful of flowers fallen off plants left in an empty tray outside at the grocery store.  I didn’t think they would mind if I grabbed a handful.

So, I didn’t get pinks or reds, but got some interesting lilac and purple colors which I found pleasing.  There are some resists from the fern and foliage which turned out pretty cool.  I will be trying this again as more flowers are available in the garden,, and I have some time.

I hope to use these as backgrounds for future projects.

I have a lot to learn!  Here are some links I found useful:

All Natural Dying

How to Make a Boiled Book-Youtube

Boiled Book Tutorial for Beginners-Youtube

 

It had potential.  When I saw that on the online yard sale page, I thought this would work great for a new TV console table. (Ok, so I already took off the knobs, sanded a little, and started painting the inside when I took this pic. So, sue me! lol)

This was one of those TVs that were well built and HEAVY!  Instead of being thrown out when the TV no longer worked, someone re-purposed it by gutting the inside, adding doors and covering the speaker area with 1/4 plywood.  They did a really nice job cutting out the inset and matching the stain of the wood!

I really liked the console I had already. If you remember, that was a curbside find, and I still love it, but the open back made it hard to hide the unsightly, dangling cords.  I wanted a beauty that would hide all the mess, like a 19th century hoop skirt.

This sweetie seemed a little plain on the sides and the door fronts, so I decided to add a little pizazz before I painted.  Out came the Iron Orchid Design moulds and some DAS air dry clay!  My friend, Heather, at Thicketworks recommended this clay. She knows her stuff!

The castings were taped in place until the glue set.  I used Elmer’s Wood Glue and let it dry overnight.

Next I started layering with my own chalk paint.  I had tried more expensive commercial paints from Heirloom Traditions to paint my kitchen cabinets because they promoted the All in One as easy to use and more durable than regular chalk paint.  I had mixed results, so for furniture, I decided to go back to my own homemade recipe you can find here.  On this piece I used Behr Marquee samples in these colors: Positively Pink, Thai Teal, Fish Pond, Equilibrium and Soul Search. Behr is a brand that can be found at Home Depot, but any paint that does not have the primer included can be used to make home made chalk paint.

I also used left over Heirloom Traditions All in One Paint in the color Manor House to paint inside the console and in the frame I had created on the front of the piece.  I did also use their awesome brushes that came with the All in One paint kit from doing the kitchen cabinets.

I wanted to see if I could get my paints to do this whole Boho paint style some talented furniture painters are doing. (Niss and That, The Turquoise Iris, to name a couple) They are using clay based paints with water sprayed on it.  I knew if I didn’t like it, I could paint over it.  Well, I ended up with something totally different.  Without realizing it, my spray bottle had vinegar mixed with the water.  Oops! But I ended up with this watery, drippy result that I kinda fell in love with.

 

 

It reminded me of Monet’s waterlily paintings, and that’s when I knew what I would do for the front frame section!  Or so I thought.

I used 1 Gel Transfer and Decoupage Gel to attempt a transfer of one of Monet’s waterlilies images onto the front of the console, but the transfer didn’t work.  I think it could be because I used the Heirloom Traditions All in One paint to cover that space.  I’m not sure, and I could have tried again with a plain chalk paint, but I was in a hurry to get this done.  So what to do?

It’s been a very long time since I free-hand painted anything, but I thought “oh well, why not?”  Again, I figured I could just paint over it if I screwed up. So, in one afternoon, using the colors I had used on the rest of the console, I painted my own version of waterlilies.  Still not sure I love it, but I’ll live with it for now.  Of course, my husband, my biggest fan, thinks it’s wonderful.

After a coat of clear wax, and then a mix of wax, gold paint, and green paint on the edges, it was put in it’s place of honor.

 

Let me know what you think.

 

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